This is spiderhome, nomad country,
Scuttling and hunting life from rock to rock,
Grey, watchful, devious, only they persist
In an opposition of fire and sand.
Shahid Hosain, “Concerning the Difficulties of Faith in Hot Climates,” First Voices (OUP 1965)
The English Alphabet dangled it’s A
for Apple when I was eight in Bombay …
Zulfikar Ghose, “One Chooses a Language” 50 Poems. (OUP: 2010, composed circa 1960s)
Any consideration of the creative use of English in Pakistan will naturally be preceded by the question: should English be used creatively in Pakistan? … [Young] poets … [it] is to them we must look for the creation of a Pakistani [English] idiom ….
Taufiq Rafat, “Towards a Pakistani Idiom,” Aleph Review, 2017 (originally, Karachi Univ.1969, 19 and 32)
… Ice-candy-man transforms himself into a birdman … foreshadowing the poetic impulse of his future … says: “Look! Little sparrow singing, ‘See? See? I free’ …” … Ice-candy-man talks. News and gossip flow off his glib tongue like a torrent. He reads Urdu newspapers … He can, when he applies himself, read the headlines in … the English Daily.
Bapsi Sidhwa, “Chapter 4,” Cracking India (USA: 1991) – Ice Candy Man (UK: 1988)
Taken all in all, the wind sits fair for our [Pakistani] poetry in English … for cultural survival in the world … and the innovative thrust into new frontiers ….
Shaista S. Sirajuddin, “Three Contemporary Poets: A Study of Their Use of Language” (1991)
[There] has never been any encouragement of creative work in English in Pakistan … ordinary readers as well as critics, become aware as to where Pakistani literature written in English stands, and this awareness might shift more attention to [English] creative writing in Pakistan.
Tariq Rahman, “Conclusion,” A History of Pakistani Literature in English 1947-1988. (OUP 2015, 289-290)
If the materiality of cultural criticism must now locate its idiom in the productive absence of alterity, it must similarly realign its relation to the figure of gender … [Histories] of colonialism and their concomitant narratives … must necessarily generate a discursive guilt … to the fact … that narration occurs to confirm the precariousness of power.
Sara Suleri, “Chapter 1” The Rhetoric of English India (Chicago 1992, 15 and 23)
In today’s globalized world, in most instances, there are only a few dividing lines between ‘resident’ and ‘diaspora’ writers of Pakistani origin.
Muneeza Shamsie, “Preface,” Hybrid Tapestries (OUP 2017, xi)
I suggest inserting ‘English poetic’ into Rafat’s seminal idea [“Pakistani idiom”] and theorising it … to contextualise and analyse this much-exploited term.
Waseem Anwar, in The Routledge Companion to Pakistani Anglophone Writing (Routledge 2019, 370)
MESSAGES – PATRONS AND DIRECTOR
The ICPWE at Kinnaird is first of its kind forum for the writers expressing in English, and, in that respect, are equally a part of the literary soul and ambiance of this city, Lahore! – Patron-in-Chief – Rukhsana David (Principal)
The poetic promise and power of being human is still instilled through the Humanities, Arts and Literature, and the Kinnaird ICPWE offers all efforts to fulfil this promise. – Director – Waseem Anwar (Professor of English)
Director – Dr. Waseem Anwar is Professor of English and Director ICPWE (International Centre for Pakistani Writing in English, https://www.kinnaird.edu.pk/icpwe/ ) at Kinnaird College for Women. He has also been at FCC and GC universities in the capacity of Dean (Humanities) and Chair (English). Recipient of Fulbright award twice in 1995 and 2007, Dr. Anwar served as the President of the Pak-US Alumni Network (PUAN) and Fulbright Alumni Association. A Gale Group American Scholar, he has also been awarded the Punjab Education Department “Salam Teacher Award – 2004” and Pakistan Higher Education Commission “Best Teacher Award – 2003.” He is a Lifetime Member of the South Asian Literary Association (SALA), USA, thrice on its Executive Committees. Apart from being on the Advisory and Editorial Boards of several renowned research journals, and besides publishing scores of journal articles and book chapters, he has the following to his special credit:
Archiving & Coordination Officer – Mirza Raheel Baig has an educational background of Computer Sciences and Business Administration, specializing in Human Resource & Finance from the University of Central Punjab, Lahore. Holding a diverse experience with hands on expertise in record keeping, communication, administration, team-oriented projects, team leadership, event management, public speaking, and related volunteer activities, he has been at Kinnaird College for 02 years, currently serving the International Centre for Pakistani Writing in English (ICPWE). He has coordinated important literary events, hosted many important dignitaries, and managed two book launches at the Quaid-e-Azam Library, Lahore in collaboration with ICPWE.
ICPWE – INTRODUCTION
Founded in July 2014 and operative since August 2014, the International Centre for Pakistani Writing in English (ICPWE) is the first worldwide forum dedicated to literature produced in English by Pakistanis. Kinnaird College, ever cognizant of new areas of knowledge formation, seized the initiative when Mr. M. Athar Tahir, Rhodes Scholar and a prize-winning author, proposed the idea. In view of its promising prospects, the Principal Kinnaird College, Dr. Rukhsana David helped establish the ICPWE. Of course, this creation was necessitated by growing national attention and international recognition of Pakistani English writing. As we know that since independence, English, the language of government, judiciary, and education, continues to be adopted and adapted in Pakistan/ South Asia by pioneering individuals for personal, literary as well as critical and theoretical expressions, unfortunately and ironically, a long period of this literary history in the region remains still largely un-addressed and un-documented. Additionally, despite a considerable body of work available in print form now, this literature is rarely studied or promoted as it needs to be. Academic institutions of higher learning sporadically held seminars or offered short courses or adjunct modules, but even these initiatives were few and far between. In fact, not a single institution in the country, public or private, offers degrees focusing on Pakistani English writing. This was/ is largely due to unavailability of material in any one place, along with many other reasons.
For over a hundred-year Kinnaird College has honed the academic, creative, and literary skills of many students. To name a few, Bapsi Sidhwa the internationally recognized novelist, Sara Suleri the Pakistani American author, critic and Yale Professor, and Distinguished Professor Fawzia Afzal-Khan, poet, novelist, academic and administrator (being the Director of the Gender, Sexuality and Women’ Studies) at Montclair State University are among many renowned Kinnaird literary alumnae. The list is so long that it cannot be posted here. However, to be short, and as of now, the ICPWE is a platform for all the great Pakistani writers, beyond any institutional, gender, or ethnicity line, who employ English as a means of creative expression. The Centre’s WALL OF FAME specially highlights the images of legendary authors and critics, who added to the literary scope of Pakistani writing in English.
VISION & MISSION: While our aims and goals are multiple, our vision is to accord Pakistani writing in English a consolidated national and international profile. Through this only global Centre of excellence, the ICPWE, our mission is to preserve, promote, publicize, and propagate Pakistani literature in English for further research.
OBJECTIVES: ICPWE plans to stay as a repository of all that is written in English by Pakistanis, whether at home or abroad. As such, it welcomes coordinating with various foreign and local Associations/ Organizations as well as Universities offering courses in or publishing academic journals dedicated to South Asian and Pakistani Literature. Collections and resources of such literature available in the country or globally are being located and hard and soft copies procured for the ICPWE library and archives. ICPWE is soliciting archival material from a host of sources including living practitioners, private collectors, bibliophiles, public collections etc. The Centre also works on researching specialized courses in this literature for higher degrees. We are trying to guide Pakistani and foreign students, scholars, academics, and researchers who want to learn more about South Asian/Pakistani literature/s.
POLICIES: ICPWE follows policies related to standardized Collection Development, Utilization of Resources, Fund Raising, Copyrights and Talent Promotion. These policies evolve based on discussions among its Advisory and Committee members and are for the betterment of the institution and the Centre.
ACHIEVEMENTS, EVENTS & ACTIVITIES: Although we plan to go a long way and take more steps towards improvement, a few highlights of the ICPWE past and current achievements are as follows:
Besides this, several resources have been purchased and donations made by many other prominent Pakistani native or diaspora writers, authors, readers, critics, and lovers of Pakistani literary writings in English, like Bapsi Sidhwa, Shahid Hosain, Shoaib bin Hassan, Tariq Rahman, Waqas A. Khwaja, Adrian Husain, Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Bina Shah, Nazneen Sheikh, Ilona Yusuf, Qaisra Sharaz, Shadab Zeest Hashmi, Javed Amir, Usman Yousaf, Shahid Nadeem, Usman Ali, Zohra Zoberi, to mention a few. As the list goes on, per rough estimate the Centre’s collection now exceeds sixteen hundred books.
ICPWE has couple of international conferences to its credit: (Pakistani Writing in English: Past and Present [17-18 February 2016], Pakistani Anglophone Literature [15-16 February 2018]. It also holds invited lectures, book inaugurals and launches, dramatic performances, significant memorials, award or prize giving ceremonies, etc. With interest in literature, criticism, art and humanities, the Centre is involved in activities that ensure aesthetic sublimity. In this regard as the Centre participates in literary festivals and other outreach programs, it also commits to publishing, and has contributed the journals like The ALEPH Review, The Indus Review, and A Wind Moves. The Centre also regulates a Newsletter and shelves some research theses and dissertations by students and researchers in the relevant areas of their interest. Some recent events and activities held during the years 2021-2023 are detailed below from in reverse order latest to the earliest:
So far, several national and international academicians and literary figures, authors and critics have visited the Centre, including delegations from regions and continents round the world (South Asia, Canada, Europe, USA, etc.). The ICPWE Visitor’s Book preserves the comments of these visitors. Besides, the Centre is establishing links with the local knowledge hubs, universities, councils and international schools and universities.
UPCOMING PLANS: We address matters on a regular basis to move our work forward within our short and long-term plans. The purpose is to change and improve the professional image of ICPWE. Some of these provisions are under consideration, while some other are in process:
ICPWE – CURRENT ADVISORY BOARDS AND COMMITTEES
ICPWE at Kinnaird has an International Advisory Board, a National Advisory Committee and a Steering Committee, whose members coordinate to develop its future vision and mission. With the help of our current team, ICPWE keeps faith in accomplishing the goals identified by our Patrons and the Director. The effort is to accord the Centre a national and international profile for preserving and promoting Pakistani English literature/s, and to enlighten and empower future generations.
International Advisory Board
Claire Chambers is Professor of Global Literature at the University of York, UK, where she teaches modern writing from South Asia, the Arab world, and their diasporas. She is the author or editor of several books, including Rivers of Ink: Selected Essays (2017) and Making Sense of Contemporary British Muslim Novels (2019). She was Editor-in-Chief for over a decade of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Waqas Khwaja is the Ellen Douglass Leyburn Professor of English at Agnes Scott College where he teaches courses in Postcolonial literature, British Romanticism, Gothic Literature, Literature of Empire, Victorian novel, 19th century poetry, and Creative Writing. He has published four collections of poetry, Hold Your Breath, No One Waits for the Train, Mariam’s Lament, and Six Geese from a Tomb at Medum, a literary travelogue, Writers and Landscapes, about his experiences as a fellow of the International Writers Program, University of Iowa, and three edited anthologies of Pakistani literature, Cactus, Mornings in the Wilderness, and Short Stories from Pakistan. He served as translation editor (and contributor) for Modern Poetry of Pakistan, a Pakistan Academy of Letters project supported by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, showcasing translations of poems by 44 poets from Pakistan’s national and regional languages. He also guest-edited a special issue of scholarly articles on Pakistani Literature for the Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies and another, on Pakistani poetry, for Atlanta Review. Website: http://wkhwaja.agnesscott.org/
Cara Cilano is Professor of English and Associate Dean (Undergrad Studies) at Michigan State University and has been researching Pakistani anglophone literatures for years. Author of three books on Pakistani literature, she has published several articles and book chapters. A Fulbright Lecturer in Belarus, she also served as lead PI on the US Department of State University Partnerships grant (2014-2016) to establish links for Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan. While her areas of interest are Pakistan Studies, Postcolonial Studies and Cold War Studies, she also served as Secretary for the American Institute of Pakistan Studies.
Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar at Montclair State University, was Director of the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. She has published six books, including Siren Song: Understanding Pakistan through its Women Singers (2020), Lahore with Love: Growing Up With Girlfriends Pakistani Style (2010), and Cultural Imperialism: Genre and Ideology in the Indo-English Novel (1993). Afzal-Khan is a trained vocalist in North Indian Classical music, a published playwright and poet, and has worked for Ajoka Theatre of Pakistan. She was Fulbright-Hays Visiting-Scholar in Residence at Kinnaird College for Women and Forman Christian College during Spring 2016. Websites: https://www.fawziaafzalkhan.com AND
National Advisory Committee
(Photo Credit – Ayesha Vellani) – Muneeza Shamsie is an Independent Scholar and the author of Hybrid Tapestries: The Development of Pakistani Literature in English (2017), Bibliographic Representative (Pakistan) The Journal of Commonwealth Literature and Area Editor of the online Literary Encyclopaedia ( www.Litencyc.com ). She has edited three anthologies A Dragonfly In the Sun: An Anthology of Pakistani Writing In English (1997), Leaving Home: Towards New Millenium: A Collection of English Prose by Pakistani Writers (2001), And the World Changed: Contemporary Stories by Pakistani Women (2005 India, 2008 USA edition won the Gold IPPY Award and the Forward Bronze Award). Her fourth anthology is to be published shortly. She serves on the International Advisory Board of The Journal of Postcolonial Writing, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and the International Centre of Creative Writing in English. She has served on the jury of several literary awards and was the regional chair (Eurasia) of the Commonwealth Writers Prize 2009-2010. She contributes regularly to Dawn and Newsweek Pakistan. Website: https://independent.academia.edu/MuneezaShamsie
Navid Shahzad is a Pakistani academic whose remarkable credentials as actor, writer, director and poet have been recognized nationally as well as overseas. Awarded the President’s Pride of Performance for Literature, the Fatima Jinnah Award for Artistic Excellence and silver/gold medals by the Government of Punjab for her contribution to Pakistan Television; she is Distinguished Professor of Dramatic Arts at the Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. Her latest venture is a book, Aslan’s Roar: Turkish Television and the Rise of the Muslim Hero.
Recipient of President of Pakistan’s Pride of Performance award, Shahid Nadeem is Pakistan’s leading playwright. Currently, Executive Director of the renowned Ajoka Theatre and formerly PTV’s Deputy Managing Director, his plays in Urdu and Punjabi have been performed and published in Pakistan and abroad. Acclaimed for his bold themes and commitment to human rights, he has also written for TV and Film. English translations of his plays are published by Oxford University Press, Nick Hern, and included in anthologies published by Sahitya Akademi India and Bloomsbury. He has been fellow at the Getty Institute and National Endowment for Democracy, USA. www.ajoka.org.pk
Currently pursuing his PhD in the US, Naveed Alam received an MFA from the University of Oregon. His first collection of poems, A Queen of No Ordinary Realms, won the Spokane Poetry Prize < https://www.amazon.com/Queen-No-Ordinary-Realms/dp/0910055971 >. He has translated Madho Lal Hussein, the 16th century Punjabi poet, into English (Verses of a Lowly Fakir, Penguin Classics, < https://penguin.co.in/book/verses-of-a-lowly-fakir/ >), while his Punjabi-English bilingual collection of poems, The Others, was published in 2020. His most recent, a translation of two contemporary Punjabi women poets: Flames Prefer to be Naked: Selected Poems of Nasreen Anjum Bhatti and Sara Shagufta (THAAP, 2021) was supported by National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) fellowship.
Awais Khan is a TED Speaker and the award-winning author of No Honour (Orenda, 2021) and In the Company of Strangers (Hera, 2022; Simon & Schuster India 2019). Graduating from the University of Western Ontario and Durham University, he studied creative writing at Faber Academy in London, and is the Founder of The Writing Institute. Awais has delivered talks at Oxford, Durham, and American University of Dubai to name a few. His work has appeared in several anthologies. His short story “The Victim” is longlisted for the Short Story Dagger 2022. He is on the judging panel for the Gwyl Crime Cymru Novel Prize and the Cheshire Novel Prize, and has appeared on BBC World, Voice of America, Dubai Eye, Samaa TV, PTV, City42, Cambridge Radio etc. He is represented by Annette Crossland and can be googled at and more.
Mina Malik, a graduate of LUMS, Punjab University and Oxford, is a writer and poet based in Lahore. Her poetry and prose have appeared in the South Asian Review, Vallum and The Aleph Review, amongst other publications, and has had bylines in Scroll, Architectural Digest and a column with The Nation for five years. Mina has most recently co-founded Risala, a forthcoming magazine, and is working on her first novel. https://petersfraserdunlop.com/clients/mina-malik-hussain/
Shahid Nadeem (See the section NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE & www.ajoka.org.pk)
Ilona Yusuf is a poet and editor; also, in daily life, a designer and printmaker. Her poems have been published once in book form, Picture This by Alhamra Publishing in 2001, and thereafter in local and international literary journals, online and in print. Ilona has edited for literary journals like The Alhamra Literary Review, Vallum Special Issue Pakistan; and since 2017 to date works as Associate Editor of The Aleph Review, a yearly Pakistani art and literature journal featuring local and international writing. She has also freelanced for several local art and features magazines, and written essays on Pakistani poetry in English, mostly for international publications. https://www.thealephreview.com/post/tribute-part-2 AND https://vallum.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/vallum-featured-essay-ilona-yusuf/
Shadab Zeest Hashmi is a Pakistani-American poet and essayist. Winner of the San Diego Book Award, Sable’s Hybrid Book Prize, the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize, she is nominated for the Pushcart multiple times. Her work engages with history, cultures of encounter, and the life of spirit and aesthetics. Her two poetry collections are Kohl and Chalk and Baker of Tarifa. Her volume of prose and poetry titled Ghazal Cosmopolitan is praised by Marilyn Hacker as a “marvelous interweaving of poetry, scholarship, literary criticism and memoir.” Her latest, Comb is a rumination across the ancient Silk Road, of which her birthplace Peshawar is a significant outpost. Zeest Hashmi’s poetry is translated into Spanish, Turkish, Bosnian and Urdu, and has appeared in anthologies and journals worldwide, like in McSweeney’s In the Shape of a Human Body, I am Visiting the Earth, and The Best Asian Poetry 2021. An MFA teacher at San Diego State University, her work is included in the Language Arts curriculum.
Faiqa Mansab is the author of the critically acclaimed This House of Clay and Water, Penguin 2017. She is a British Chevening Scholar and Saari Fellow, and has written for Medusa, Lucy Writer’s Platform, The Missing Slate and others. She received her MFA with distinction from Kingston Upon Thames, with the “Best MFA Thesis Award.” Her new novel is forthcoming from Neem Tree Press UK and Penguin India in 2024. https://www.linkedin.com/in/faiqa-mansab-57bb41149
Represented by United Talent Agency, and Curtis Brown UK, Kanza Javed is an MFA in Fiction from West Virginia University, where she won the Rebecca Mason Perry Award. She is awarded two state-department research scholarships – University of Massachusetts and Arizona State University, and her debut novel, Ashes, Wine and Dust was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize and is still a national bestseller in South Asia. Her short stories are published in American Literary Review, The Punch Magazine, Salamander, Greensboro Review and The Malahat Review. She won the Reynolds Price Prize for Fiction (Center for Women Writers, Salem College), and is a finalist for the 51st New Millennium Writing Award, Salamander Short Fiction Award and the Robert Watson Literary Prize. Her second book, a collection of short stories, What Remains After a Fire is shortlisted for the 2022 literary awards by the Sante Fe Writer’s Prize and the New American Press.
Waseem Anwar (See the section ICPWE STAFF [Director])
Masha Asad Khan is working as Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kinnaird College. She has done MPhil and PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of the Punjab. Author of numerous nationally and internationally published research articles, she is known for her interdisciplinary engagement in education and research for over two decades. Her book chapter is published with Springer, while she serves as associate editor at international and national level for different reputed journals. Her research supervision expands to diverse areas, including psycho-social and clinical determinants of mental health, gender, loneliness, intergenerational trauma, minorities, parenting emerging adults, social barriers to mental well-being, stigma, rejection sensitivity, resilience, migration, social support and more. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2594-5284
Nadia Anjum has twenty-six years of teaching and administrative experience. She is currently the Head of MA/MPhil English Literature Programme & advanced research at Kinnaird College. She was awarded the “Star Laureate Award-South Asia Publication 2008” for her outstanding achievements in education. She won the Best University Teacher National Award, 2012-2013 and co-authored the book, Human Rights through Education (2005) which received the British Eltech Award. She also ran the Research Fellowship and partnership programme between Arizona State University and Kinnaird.
Sadia Ghaznavi is Head, Department of English (Undergraduate), and an Assistant Professor of English Literature at Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore. Her research interests are Pakistani English literature, Postcolonial Studies, and Global Anglophone literature. She has been pursuing her passion of teaching at Kinnaird for more than seventeen years. She is actively involved in supervising literature theses, diversifying curriculum design, supervising community engagement projects, expanding the scope of literary and humanities studies in a variety of disciplines, teachers’ trainings, and inspiring and mentoring students to enhance envisioned learning through research.
Shama Salman Khaliq, a Convent and Kinnaird (KC) alumna, did her MA in English and Education from the Universities of Punjab (PU) and London respectively. Teaching literature, linguistics, Communication and ELT at KC and involved with theatre (as President of the KC Najamuddin Dramatics Society), dance and travelling since 1975, she also taught in Ankara, Turkey, to then become Principal, Fatima Jinnah College, Chuna Mandi, Lahore in 2002. Her accolades include Fatima Jinnah Medal by Punjab Government and Tamgha-i-Imtiaz by Pakistan Government, while she has been the Syndicate member at PU, Lahore College for Women University and University of Education.
Faiqa Mansab (see the section Volunteer Experts & https://www.linkedin.com/in/faiqa-mansab-57bb41149 )
93 – Jail Road, Lahore, 54000, Pakistan
Tel: 92-42-99203781-84 (Extensions 283 & 201)
Website URL: www.kinnaird.edu.pk/icpwe/